Some of my fondest memories from my childhood were Saturday nights when my family would order Pizza Hut Pizza, because my dad liked a pan pizza supreme (yuck!) and we would watch Star Trek the Next Generation together as a family. Geordi Laforge was always my favorite. He was the engineer who usually figured out how to use science to do everything that had to be done each episode to save the Galaxy!
My mom had always been a big fan of the original show, and the fact that my father always bore a passing resemblance to Leonard Nimoy is probably integral to my very existence.
My wife turned out to be a more classic SciFi Star Trek fan. Growing up it inspired escapist fantasies that she could warp drive her way out of Montana (just like in First Contact).
She also had been an 8 year old girl with a crush on Commander Ryker. So either way Star Trek held a special place in her heart.
It was my wife who convinced my to watch Deep Space Nine, which I had always avoided because it seemed more dark and Soap Opera like, instead of Boldly going where no one had gone before, which as it happened was the universal critical response when it first came out in 1993. But 20 years later when my wife finally encouraged me to watch it, I became hooked. The political Intrigue and constantly changing fragile alliances interwoven between equal parts disturbing social commentary and light hearted humor. And I naturally became emotionally invested and now it is one of my all time favorite shows. Interestingly my wife won’t watch it anymore.
Of course she tried to get me to watch Voyager and that was every bit as bad as I had always thought. Also there are some weird parallel episodes to Star Gate SG1 episodes that make me suspect they must have shared a backlot.
And speaking of Star Gate (because I’m not going to waste a countdown slot on another SciFi space travel show) apart from my appreciation of their Tolkienesque mythological retconning, I have to comment on my mother and wife’s Mutual Affection for Richard Dean Anderson that is dare I say Patty-and-Selma-like. Never underestimate the value of anything your wife and her mother-in-law can agree on (even if it is how stubborn and pig headed you are).
To me the appeal of Star Trek is as a continuing course into Humanity (and humanities courses about Star Trek are a frequent offering in modern college course catalogs).
Simply put: Only by defining what it means to be Klingon, Vulcan, Romulan, Cardasian, or any number of other invented alien races, can we make the necessary compare and contrast analysis to truly answer questions about the Human race with any degree of objectivity. This was the genius of Gene Roddenberry.